Iranians Use Twitter to Oppose Flag-Burning and Thank Americans for Resisting Trump’s Travel Ban
A few days before the 38th anniversary of Iran’s 1979 revolution—traditionally commemorated with hardliners burning U.S. flags and promoting other forms of anti-Americanism—thousands of people participated in a Twitter storm to express gratitude for the Americans who protested against President Donald Trump’s travel ban on seven Muslim-majority countries, including Iran.
We thank Americans who stood up for the seven countries blocked from entering the US by the new travel ban. #LoveBeyondFlags pic.twitter.com/agrNKAXmR9
— مملکته (@mamlekate) February 8, 2017
More than 47,000 individual tweets were composed with the #LoveBeyondFlags hashtag on February 8, 2017, with almost 70 percent of tweets coming from the Islamic Republic, according to research by the Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.
اونا میخوان نفرت دنیا رو پر کنه و تنها راهی که ما داریم مقابله به وسیلهی عشقه!#احترام_به_ملتها#LoveBeyondFlags
— ملودی (@MelodyTz) February 8, 2017
The Internet and social media applications are heavily restricted and censored in Iran, with individuals having been imprisoned for the content of their personal posts.
Many of the tweeters also combined the hashtag with a message opposing the burning of the U.S. flag, an increasingly unpopular act in Iran—carried out by a small minority of hardliners—designed to bolster anti-Americanism throughout the country and attract international media coverage.
Prominent Iran-based political pundits have criticized flag-burning in public forums.
“It’s wrong to burn a country’s flag,” said Tehran University Political Science Professor Sadegh Zibakalam, during a debate on state television in 2016. “You are insulting the people of that country.”
The February 8 Twitter storm followed one on February 3 using the hashtag #احترام_به_ملتها (Respect For Nations), which lasted several days. More than 80 percent of those postings also came from Iran, according to the Campaign’s research.
«مرز» برای مرگ انسانیت نیست، میان من ایرانی و همزاد آمریکاییم راهی سبز و پر از مهربانی دیوار خشم دولتها را میشکنه.#LoveBeyondFlags https://t.co/jVYz9V5g01
— Sanaz Allahbedashti (@Sannaz_All) February 8, 2017
[TWEET: Sanaz Allahbedashti: “Borders” are not for ending humanity. There’s a green path full of love between me as an Iranian and my American twin, which will break the wall of anger put up by governments.]